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'Booze and vinegar won't keep virus at bay' - doctor busts myths over Covid-19

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The only alcohol helping to stop the spread of the virus is that found in hand sanitiser. Photo: Getty Images

The only alcohol helping to stop the spread of the virus is that found in hand sanitiser. Photo: Getty Images

AFP via Getty Images

The only alcohol helping to stop the spread of the virus is that found in hand sanitiser. Photo: Getty Images

The coronavirus pandemic has led to such an avalanche of health information that it can be hard for people to stay on top of the facts. Dr Gero Baiarda outlines what he believes are myths that need tackling.

People are most contagious before they even know they have the virus.

"This is untrue," Dr Baiarda says. "Patients who are asymptomatic can pass on the virus as soon as they are infected, but spread is most effective in coughed droplets."

If delivery drivers wear gloves, they will not spread Covid-19.

"This is wrong. Every item that a gloved hand touches can then be contaminated," Dr Baiarda warns.

"To stay safe, the best advice is not to touch the parcel until ideally the following day."

The virus cannot be passed on by food.

Dr Baiarda acknowledges that transmission through food is less likely than other means, but says it is "definitely still possible".

"If someone who has the virus on their hands touches food, it is very likely to become contaminated for many hours," he says.

"Food should either be washed or cooked at 65C at least for four minutes or more."

Sanitiser with 60pc alcohol is as effective as washing your hands in soap and water.

"Wrong. Squirting a little bit of alcohol gel on your palms and rubbing them together is not effective," the doctor says.

"You need to cover the entire surface of both hands, including fingers and thumbs, but this should be done only after the hands are free of any residues, such as after sneezing."

Drinking alcohol will prevent people from getting the virus.

Sadly for those who enjoy a little tipple, this is not true. The only alcohol helping to stop the spread of the virus is that found in hand sanitiser.

Moisturising hands after washing reduces cleanliness.

"Incorrect. Moisturising the skin is very important," Dr Baiarda says.

"The virus can lodge itself in damaged skin on your hands cracked by repeated washing, so it's important to try to avoid this.

"Keeping fingernails short will reduce the risk of sheltering and passing on the virus too."

Washing hands is not as important when self-isolating, as you are all virus-free.

Dr Baiarda says this perspective is simply "wrong".

"If you're bringing shopping, deliveries and post into your home, then washing your hands remains important.

"Every time you wash your hands you will break the chain of infection. If in doubt, give them a wash."

This means for at least 20 seconds, with warm, soapy water.

Ideally, you should then use disposable paper towels rather than a communal one to dry your hands.

Vinegar is good for keeping bathrooms and kitchens free of the virus.

"Incorrect - vinegar will not work against coronavirus and is not advised," Dr Baiarda says.

"The cleaning of bathrooms, kitchens and surfaces is still best carried out with hot water from the tap and a surface detergent as you have always done."